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Ben-Hur More at IMDbPro »

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111 out of 174 people found the following review useful:

Another Hollywood remake...

4/10
Author: Daniel Ross from New Zealand
19 August 2016

Hollywood remakes. For every Ocean's 11, there's 10 Willy Wonkas. So here we are saddled with another previously untouchable classic getting a slickly made, soulless studio remake. But is it fair to judge it just because it's a remake? Or does it succeed on its own merits?

I love the William Wyler '59 original classic, and watch it often. The quoteable lines are brilliant. "Your eyes are full of hate, 41. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive". Charlton Heston is great as Ben Hur. And that chariot race is one of the greatest action spectacles ever put on the silver screen.

I just can't envisage myself re- watching this. The effects are impressive, but any tosspot on a computer can conjure up digitally creative wowzers, so that is no selling point. And the action is predictably impressive, but it's so stagnant, slick and with no standout unforgettable moment. Jack Huston brings nothing new to the role of Ben- Hur, and Morgan Freeman clearly has a new flat screen TV to pay for, so he shows up to phone it in.

For the past 16 years we've seen sword & sandal epics go from fun genre revival (Gladiator) to moribund cliché (Hercules, 300 Rise of the Empire). In fact Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes from 300) shows up as Jesus Christ this time. From Persian tyrant to Jewish prophet, now that's an improvement.

I left the cinema knowing that I'll forget about this in 3 weeks. Remakes can improve on the original (The Fly, The Thing, the '59 Ben-Hur is itself a remake of an early silent B&W version). But you risk falling into trap of being so slavishly loyal to the original that to redo the film becomes pointless (Pyscho).

I can't recommend paying full cinema price. Stay at home and watch the '59 original. On the small screen, Chuck Heston commands a stronger presence than anyone in this large screen bore.

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99 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

You already know his name.

7/10
Author: rexking410 from United States
19 August 2016

Last time I watched the Ben-Hur with Charlton Heston the thought did not cross my mind that perhaps the world needed another version of the story directed by the guy who brought us Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and that weird movie where they make bullets bend.

Anyway, the Heston version is one of my favorite movies. I saw it when I was 8 and two times when I was about 20. I love it and quote it all the time.

But this is not a review of that version because (surprise!) it is not that version. This is a review of the 2016 version and I don't feel it is fair to give this movie a bad rating simply because it was an unnecessary remake. In case you are wondering, this is the sixth version of Ben-Hur.

The story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, and his adopted Roman brother Massala. They love each other but they get in the middle of an attempted assassination on a Roman leader and wind up on opposing sides. They both feel they are in the right, get in a very sticky situation, and thus begins an 5 year journey of survival, revenge, forgiveness.

I liked the movie. The chariot race was thrilling. I was worried about it because the trailer showed a scene which an obvious CGI horse running through the stands. To my delight that was the only part that really used a CGI horse (that I could tell, anyway). The rest of the race was intense even though I already knew how it was going to end.

The movie focuses very heavily on the relationship between Massala and Judah as well as Massala and the rest of the Hur family. Massala's intentions and actions were understandable and he wasn't just some evil man who betrayed his family.

The main actors and actresses do a good (not great) job. I felt Morgan Freeman may have phoned it in a little, but he delivered one of my favorite lines of the movie. My favorite actors were the slave drivers on the galley along with the drummer. They have small roles but I loved them.

I didn't care for the Jesus scenes though. He is a hard character to portray, and I just didn't like it when he spoke. I'm probably picky, but I would have preferred to hear him speak in King James English or not at all (like in the Heston version). I just felt something was off with the scenes and they could have been more powerful.

Overall, I felt it was a pretty good movie that succeeds in many aspects chiefly with the themes of revenge/forgiveness and delivers one exciting race. It's not perfect but a good movie overall.

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46 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Typical Faith-Based Market Film.

2/10
Author: phatdan from United States
2 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have sympathy for younger audiences who will probably never experience being mesmerized by a movie. As a 10-year-old in 1959, 'Ben-Hur' was an experience on the movie screen.

Faith-based movies are made by cash grabbers who know they have a market. At 100 million, it appears most of the money and time was put into CGI effects. Both the galley ship war and the chariot race were very well done. But the rest of the film displays some of the worse casting, screenplay, and directing that I've ever seen. The music score is uninspired.

Word is out that this film does better at centering around Christ. Non-sense. Jesus is presented in the new film almost as a cliché. To reveal Christ, the 1959 offering utilized subtle visual concepts to suggest Jesus' divinity. This in keeping with the novel's and the 1959 rendition's title: 'Ben-Hur; A Tale of the Christ'.

The ending is so profoundly adolescent that it is embarrassing.

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58 out of 87 people found the following review useful:

Seriously ?

2/10
Author: epicking from Denmark
2 September 2016

Well, maybe its worth a 4 …. 4,5 if I had lots to drink, got a raise and was married to a Billionaire. Honestly, this is some of the worst that has come out of the worst. The start sequence just makes you want to leave the Theater right away, burn it to the ground and never come back. Its like a cheap TV show with bad lines and people who cant take a "punch". The best way to describe it is "Hercules meets Robin Hood" and had it been a TV show, lots would have been forgiven because most TV shows seldom has the budget or the actors to do make historical drama's stand out. But if you really want to make a "follow up" on an eternal historic movie like the original 1959 Ben-Hur, you better make it count, but this fails on all levels. Its just terrible and Im sure that Charlton Heston is turning in his grave. May Director Timur Bekmambetov be ashamed of himself

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94 out of 160 people found the following review useful:

epic story turned into action movie

3/10
Author: kbx1
18 August 2016

The same problem as for The Gods of Egypt with Christian Bale (remake of The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston). Also this movie (remake of the original Ben Hur also with Charlton Heston) is being turned into simple action movie instead of beautiful timeless epic story. A lot of plot threads of significant importance were cut off. I have a feeling that film makers came to a conclusion that today audience will be bored to death with this story and decided it will be action movie instead of complex story driven movie. If you are a fan of the two originals mentioned in the beginning avoid this one at all cost. Its not worth the time and money.

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78 out of 132 people found the following review useful:

actually pretty good

8/10
Author: adi-bac3 from Israel
22 August 2016

I wasn't really going to write a review but when I saw all the hate this movie was getting -I couldn't help myself and thought that this movie deserved some justice... I can understand that fans of the original movie aren't pleased- I guess they feel like seeing a book they really like getting butchered on screen- but in this case I don't think that happened. I came with low expectations and actually quite enjoyed it! The visuals were amazing-I'm an archaeology buff- roman to be specific and I think that for the first time in a long time I really felt immersed and got excited from seeing stuff I usually see in a museum come to life- The hippodrome was amazing!! And so were the costumes and the sets. In short the art director is a genius. And I finally feel that they got the look of Jerusalem almost right- at least the best version of Jerusalem on screen I've ever seen. (Kingdom of heaven's Jerusalem was awful). As for the characters they were likable- and I did find myself caring for them and being moved at the end. (All though I'm not sure I liked Jesus in it.. His portrayal made things slightly cheesy.. But not too bad.

In short... I think it's pretty good and stands on it's own and should be given a chance-especially since some part of me felt the honest need to defend it- and that doesn't happen a lot..And I do actually want to see this movie again :) Sorry that I didn't put further details- but you know- spoilers... Plus I'm sure that all the other reviewers already have..

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46 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

Bad movie

1/10
Author: pentiumwayne
30 August 2016

I watched the original Ben-Hur and liked it very much, this time I was very excited going to the theater hoping for at least a 7 stars movie. I ended up leaving with disbelief why there is such a lame move in every aspect of it except the clothing and beautiful scenes. In short, they put Morgan Freeman in cameo appearance to lure moviegoer, he just appears very briefly. The story may be good for reading but the acting is very poor. Remember how officers and generals in Roman Legionnaire look? They are mostly glorified and be surrounded by thousands of troops in full battle (beautiful) gears. In this movie we only see a few officers and they are mostly by themselves in every scenes arguing, fighting, escorting prisoners to Rome, no more than 5 Roman soldiers around wherever the officers go, to the point that they are beaten, ridiculed, wounded, or killed easily. The most ridiculous part, to me, is those no-skilled peasant-turned-fighters were able to fight off or killed the fiercest gladiators who side with the Romans. Lastly, the story put lots of people (suddenly) to appear at the perfect time, perfect location, with fighting skill, or luck, to fight the Romans, and won; The whole movie is just like that.

No offense here but I don't know why other viewers put this movie more than 3 stars? To me, if you give movies like "Gladiators", "300" 100 points, this one barely makes 10 points.

Unbelievably lame!

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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

And the Oscar for the greatest screw up in a motion picture

4/10
Author: 086 jpm from Dublin
9 September 2016

What a dreadful effort, it took a lot of creativity for this film to be this bad. The frustrating thing they didn't even have to take a chance, the book is over a 150 years old, there was a blockbuster stage show and 2 blockbuster films, all they had to do was minorly tweak the original book, or use one of the smash-hit films as a guide. I venture to say Ben Hur is one of our great stories, it has everything, love, spectacle, honour, adventure, redemption, meaning, a moral, and even a miracle' where could you go wrong. But wrong they went and I was never so angry and disappointed at a film and it was all down to ineptitude and pure genius at incompetence I mean how could anyone spend 100 million on Ben Hur and get it so wrong, the mind boggles. I give it 4 stars as the 2 great iconic scenes of which we all know, the Naval battle and the Chariot race were quite good. But the story around those events, the iconic Ben Hur story was complete and utter motiveless drivel.

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

worst Life of Brian parody ever

1/10
Author: steveh2112 from Thailand
8 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i had the misfortune of sitting through this chariot wreck a few days ago. only thing that kept me going was the obviously unfunny attempts to parody the life of brian.

in the scene where the Roman general was grilling Brian (Ben Hur), i expected him to say 'thow him to the fwoor centurion' and in the crucifixion scene i wanted them to sing 'always look on the bright side of life', but they didn't unfortunately.

and is Morgan Freeman so hard up for cash, he needed to take this job? did he even read the script?

avoid this at all cost, just awful

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86 out of 159 people found the following review useful:

Everyone will be making comparisons; see it and compare

9/10
Author: Randy Cliff from Canada
19 August 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed this production. Released today, we saw the matinée and were somewhat surprised at being what seemed like the youngest couple attending. You will not be disappointed with this movie. Watching a familiar story, you're waiting for unexpected items or things just plain screwed up. It didn't feel way, and while there are some plot topics that were different from my expectations, I was not bothered by them.

Going to this movie my thoughts were, 1) would a 21st century version make the chariot race be more violent than necessary?, 2) would the faith portion of the story be erased down to a minor thought? 3) would I recognize the story at all? Answers in a simple style are the circus race had me close my eyes a couple of times -- I'm old enough to know how dangerous these races could become, and faith portion was well done and not overplayed presenting the truth of Jesus' life during this period, and the story was well familiar and my wife commented that portions were actually clearer than we had understood from previous versions. So well done! Comparisons: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is an 1880 American best selling novel. It has been a play and movie multiple times. I found the 1925 silent version of the same title a very impressive production. The 1959 movie "Ben-Hur" is the version most people are familiar with but at 3.5hrs you'll want to find a complete copy of this (and it's one my favourite movies). The '59 movie has more story than today's and the action sequences are somewhat more simplified but very impressive. This Charlton Heston version won 11 Oscars and will be the version of most people's thoughts.

With Morgan Freeman being the only performer I was familiar with, Ben-Hur is great having fresh faces, amazing Italian country sides, and a well paced showing. Go and see this, and find one or two of the other movie versions and maybe the book as well -- so you can make your own comparisons. My wife believes this may now be her favourite, and I'm still committed to the 1959 version. I believe there's enough room for both versions to be enjoyed.

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